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Sunbathers crowd a beach near Brouwersdam in The Netherlands Sunbathers crowd a beach near Brouwersdam in The Netherlands  (ANSA)

Europeans struggling with heatwave and coronavirus lockdowns

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Europeans are crowding beaches and other areas amid a massive heatwave. That has added to deaths at sea, including in the Netherlands.

By Stefan J. Bos

At sea near the Dutch town of Monster, residents and professional rescuers desperately searched for a 15-year old boy.

He was among three swimmers who experienced difficulties over the weekend, officials said. Two were brought to safety, but on Sunday, his human remains were found.

The tragedy happened late Friday at an artificial peninsula that was created to protect the coastal area south of the Dutch government city of The Hague.

Similar incidents were expected elsewhere at overcrowded beaches, as millions of Europeans try to escape a mini-heatwave that as been basking much of Europe since Friday.

And countries like Britain, France, and Spain have experienced near-record temperatures of, in some cases, well over 41 degrees Celsius or roughly 106 Fahrenheit.

Coronavirus lockdowns

However, government-imposed lockdowns and social distancing measures to combat coronavirus cases have added to difficulties for many this summer.

In the Spanish capital Madrid, for instance, facemasks must be worn there in most places due to what authorities say is an increase in infections.

Despite the pandemic, many tried to escape the heat, with authorities complaining about overcrowded beaches. Back in the Netherlands, that meant dozens of rescues at sea.

With much of the nation lying below sea level, more rescue attempts were due as the heatwave continues, and people seek to escape coronavirus lockdowns.

02 August 2020, 15:01